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Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro Review RSS Feed

Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro

Reviews Views Date of last review
15 87,536 Sat December 10, 2016
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
93% of reviewers $94.36 8.73
Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro

The 70-300mm zoom telephoto was made in numerous versions and generations by sigma - 4 versions listed in the legacy zooms section, two in the current zooms section.
This must be a different version, it looks different than the other submitted, made in Japan SS# 1111346.

Normal and Macro position switch,
Macro at 300 only.
Minimum focus at 59.1" and 37.4" at Macro.
58mm filter size.
Weight 20.8 oz.
14 elements in 11 groups.
Owners manual from Sigma for this lens.

Auto Focus
Mount Type: Pentax KAF2/KAF (screwdrive AF)
Price History:

Add Review of Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 15
New Member

Registered: October, 2016
Location: Porthtowan
Posts: 17
Lens Review Date: December 10, 2016 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: It's cheap
Cons: AF hunting, poor construction and low contrast
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 5    Value: 8    Camera Used: MX-5N    Autofocus: 6    New Or Used: 5   

It seemed like good value for money as a new lens back in the Nineties but, on the whole, I found this lens rather disappointing.

Contrast was low, which is more acceptable now that can be corrected in software but was much less acceptable in the days of film. The tendency of the autofocus to hunt made it less than useful at the long end, it almost invariably wasn't quick enough to capture the moment.

As for the build quality, it started falling apart in my hands - I never used it that much and certainly never abused it so I wasn't impressed. I stopped taking it out with me and eventually put it in a charity shop.

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 892
Lens Review Date: August 5, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Budget AF lens with "macro"
Cons: Budget AF lens
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: k-5    Autofocus: 8   

I also have the budget Tamron 70-300mm LD DI so am comparing it to that. This is a prime example of LBA, absolutely no real reason for me to buy it. I am ashamed.

I find the Sigma to feel a little better built, just a feeling, the Tamron feels a little insubstantial in comparison. There is probably not much between them for build quality which is not high.
The images provided so far are much the same as the Tamron for sharpness, the Sigma maybe a little flatter in contrast but that is easily boosted.

The big plus for this Sigma lens is the huge reduction in purple fringing compared to my Tamron. Fair enough, purple fringing does not always spoil the Tamron photos if care is taken to avoid the worst scenarios but the Sigma is so much better in this respect.

The big minus is that I prefer my Tamron SP 60-300mm images at 300mm (and at macro)....but this is not AF and seems a fair bit heavier when on the camera.

It is a budget lens, good enough for Sigma to sell many of them (and Tamron) and for many users it is fine, however, I am drawn to the Pentax 55-300mm which seems to be the benchmark in the range "to 300mm zooms". I do need to get one at a good price (and would like WR) though it seems to hold it's value. An AF 300mm prime would be preferable for the image quality for birds etc, but these are much further way in price.

If you need a zoom with this range at a price that makes it cheap enough, the Sigma could be good enough.
An example of the image available at 300mm.

An image to show bokeh
Forum Member

Registered: January, 2015
Posts: 71
Lens Review Date: April 27, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good AF, sharp when used properly, macro
Cons: For the price it's hard to nitpick
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Autofocus: 9   

Found a near mint copy at a thrift store with a large Pentax branded bag included. There are about 6 different versions in the reviews section here, but my copy doesn't look exactly like any of them. It doesn't say 'APO' or 'DL' or 'Macro' or 'Super' or any of that stuff, but it is definitely the same lens with 58mm filter diameter, macro switch at 200mm+, same minimum focus distance, etc. The grips look more like the newer versions.

70mm - sharp corner to corner by f/5.6 peaking at f/8, usable wider but fully open quite soft
100mm - sharp in the center by f/5.0, sharp corner to corner at f/5.6 peaking at f/8, wide open not great but usable
135mm - sharp in the center by f/5.6 peaking at f/9.0, not sharp in corners until f/9.0, wide open not great but usable
200mm - sharp in the center by f/5.6 peaking at f/9.0, corners never quite get there, usable wider but not great fully open
300mm - sharp in the center by f/6.3 peaking at f/9.0, corners pretty bad at all settings, usable wider but fully open pretty soft

AF is quick and usually accurate. Zoom adjustments are easy enough. Macro function is a bonus, though I haven't played with it yet. You could knock it for being relatively weak at 300mm, but would you rather that it stopped at 200mm or 210mm instead?

This is a good lens without regards to expectations or what I paid for it. It is outstanding for a cheap zoom.
Inactive Account

Registered: February, 2016
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: March 30, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, good colours, robust
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Autofocus: 9    New Or Used: New   

With helpful support from the users “Pentaxforums lens reviews” I saw the valuable quality ofthis lens and tried to get one - having success for 50 EUR on EBay.

I´m surprised by the excellent image-quality and can reverify all the results ofthe “lens reviews”. This “old” construction beats comparable newer lenses in every single optical category. It is sharp, brings fine colours and is a good base for supplementary editing.

The built quality is well and robust, focus works without claims. But if you try to catch small and moving objects AF can get out-off target. In this case better setting MF (Manual-Focus), pre-select zoom and focus and balance manually.

The zoomring works a little stiff with inhomogeneous torque but this is probable a fact due to the old age of the lens.

Maybe that a prime lens in the > 1000 EUR -class is an optimal solution but for anyonewho do not play in this league this lens is superb.

Meanwhile this is my favorite lens and I placed a 2nd
in stock.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2015
Location: Central Missouri
Posts: 5,176
Lens Review Date: February 28, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Zoom Range, Sharp Across Zoom Range, Macro
Cons: Big, Slow, Color Rendering
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K20D    Autofocus: 8   

I got this lens for a bargain and it is a very useful lens. It seems to be sharp across the entire zoom range. The macro works well, although it is somewhat long at 300mm and requires a high shutter speed or a tripod. The auto-focus works OK but does hunt sometimes, but no surprise since this lens has a long throw on it (but auto-focus is also a factor of the camera body to be fair). The color rendering and contrast are not as good as some of my primes, but good enough and can be handled in PP. This is a big lens, but for the zoom range it is probably typical.

Junior Member

Registered: June, 2011
Location: Sasebo, Japan
Posts: 27
Lens Review Date: February 26, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, good color, quick a/f in good light.
Cons: heavy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3, K5    Autofocus: 9   

Picked this up in Japan as part of a bundle including an Mz10 body and a companion 28-80 lens all in excellent condition for $60.00. It has excellent color rendition on the K3. I have a kit DA 55-300 and the a/f on this lens is faster and more reliable without having to fine tune it. I spent 30 min photographing a Silver eye jumping from branch to branch in a blooming plum tree today and 80% of the shots were right on focus. Thanks to everyone for the previous reviews. They were a big help in taking a chance on this but in my opinion it is a real deal'
Inactive Account

Registered: July, 2012
Location: Wiltshire
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: May 12, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, colour, lack of abberations
Cons: Can hunt a little, macro lock at 300 awkward
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I bought this after owning both an AF Pentax 80-200 and a cheap manual 400mm prime, and have to say its a fabulous lens. I bought it via ebay from Japan in mint condition, and even after customs duty it was very cheap for what you get and what it does. Images are clear with good colour at max aperture (4.0-5.6 depending on zoom), and virtually no aberrations. It's a great lens to use, and I think it's going to be hard to beat without spending a LOT more cash. Thoroughly recommended.
New Member

Registered: August, 2011
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 1, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, cheap, macro,fast AF, colors,solid
Cons: none in class
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I bought it in mint condition and found the best xx to 300mm AF macro zoom in class. Built like a tank, but not heavy. Good handling and nice touch. At long end, sharper than signa DG APO and even Pentax 55-300 I used before. At least mine.
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2012
Location: Belgium
Posts: 71
Lens Review Date: May 31, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: fast AF,sharpness,colors,cheap,solid
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

This is my favourite 70-300mm lens i bought just for 69€ on ebay. I had before the Sigma 70-300 DL (no macro) but this version is much more better (colors,sharpness). AF is fast on my K5 with superb colors well rendered.
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2011
Posts: 95

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 6, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cheap, good build, AF, macro
Cons: Soft, Slow
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

Pros: Good build, long tele 300mm, macro

Cons: Slow, Soft compared to primes, for tele zoom is prety sharp, stiff between 200mm - 300mm, AF hunting on low light

My vesrion is APO. Overall very good value for money for 80 USD I've got 300mm tele lens. Do not expect miracles, but very good build modern AF multicoated lens.

See handheld at 300mm, no crops no pp:

100% crop from the above:

At 70mm this lens is better then the standard DA 18-55mm kit lens at 55mm.
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2011
Location: California
Posts: 32
Lens Review Date: June 11, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $68.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Range, Construction, clarity
Cons: weight. f stop
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I have been using this lens with my K-5 shooting auto racing action. Most of the shots are under the lights. Until I can get an f2.5 zoom I think this one will be doing most my work.

Since I posted this review I purchased a Quantaray Tech-10 70-300 1:4-5.6 PF AF which appears to be identical to the Sigma in all important details. Only the lens cap and the focus/zoom rubber seems different. Even the lens coatings look the same. I bought the Quantaray along with Pentex ZX-10 and a SMC F 35-80 lens for $29 ($47 with shipping) making the Quantaray version a monster deal.
New Member

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Northern California
Posts: 19
Lens Review Date: January 10, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very cheap and extremely good quality for what you pay
Cons: Heavy, prone to flaring, macro only at 300mm, soft at 300mm

You can't expect a whole lot from this lens if it costs that little, but it actually does perform quite well. Though it does get a tad soft and sometimes washes colors a little, it's nothing that can't be fixed in pp.
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Eckington, Derbyshire UK
Posts: 316
Lens Review Date: September 29, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Price
Cons: Small apertures

On a bright day this lens outperforms it's price, mine is the non APO version, but IQ is quite good even wide open (where it spends most of it's time), but it does improve dramatically when stopped down a couple of stops.

Results can be very good, this was shot using a K10D

The 300mm gives good reach it's not heavy and performs well, always in my camera bag.

New Member

Registered: August, 2009
Posts: 10
Lens Review Date: September 9, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: price/value ratio; wide zoom range; macro capability
Cons: f4-f5.6; long AF time; focal length recognition (fixed?)

It is so cheap that most defects can be ignored.

I own the "APO" - apochromatic - version (it has a red line running around the front lens), it is a bit more expensive than the basic, but with a better color rendition and reduced aberrations.

Of course, sharpness and contrast are not at top level, but - for example - chromatic aberration is very good.

Macro is available only between 200 and 300mm, but you must enable/disable this mode with an unintuitive switch on the barrel. Macro minimum focus distance (0.95cm with ratio 1:2) allows to shot insects and little animals without frightening them, but good results are achieved only with a plenty of light.

Around70mm -150mm it is very fun to use for portraits.

At 300mm / 5.6 is quite difficult to get good shots, but having this glass in your small bag gives you the opportunity to shot in the distance...

When mounted on my K200D, most of times the focal length was not automatically recognized, and I have to dismount/remount the lens several times before the body get recognizing what lens are mounted. Few days ago it seems I fixed this, applying a drop of penetrating unblocking oil to the lens contacts.

Overall, despite it has some defect, the value for the money is really great, and I recommend it to anybody needs an inexpensive, easy to carry and versatile long focal zoom.
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Illinois
Posts: 40
Lens Review Date: August 28, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $98.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great price for a good lense
Cons: Heavy

Have taken a few pictures and I am impressed, would be interested in trying the Acro-matic Macro Attachment Lens, which is supposed to significantly reduce the minimum focusing Distance at any length, supposedly you can achieve 1:1 reproduction.
Add Review of Sigma AF 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro

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